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Spy of the First Person
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Published:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2017
Status:
Available from OverDrive
Description
The final work from the Pulitzer Prize–winning writer, actor, and musician, drawn from his transformative last days
 
In searing, beautiful prose, Sam Shepard’s extraordinary narrative leaps off the page with its immediacy and power. It tells in a brilliant braid of voices the story of an unnamed narrator who traces, before our rapt eyes, his memories of work, adventure, and travel as he undergoes medical tests and treatments for a condition that is rendering him more and more dependent on the loved ones who are caring for him. The narrator’s memories and preoccupations often echo those of our current moment—for here are stories of immigration and community, inclusion and exclusion, suspicion and trust. But at the book’s core, and his, is family—his relationships with those he loved, and with the natural world around him. Vivid, haunting, and deeply moving, Spy of the First Person takes us from the sculpted gardens of a renowned clinic in Arizona to the blue waters surrounding Alcatraz, from a New Mexico border town to a condemned building on New York City’s Avenue C. It is an unflinching expression of the vulnerabilities that make us human—and an unbound celebration of family and life.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
12/05/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780525521570
ASIN:
B07692XRG9
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Sam Shepard. (2017). Spy of the First Person. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Sam Shepard. 2017. Spy of the First Person. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Sam Shepard, Spy of the First Person. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Sam Shepard. Spy of the First Person. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2017. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Grouped Work ID:
302f9d2f-10bf-7e89-4bdb-a88aa0fc051d
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Needs Update?:
No
Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:02:20
Date Updated:
Jun 12, 2018 16:02:20
Last Metadata Check:
Jun 26, 2022 07:28:24
Last Metadata Change:
Jun 25, 2022 12:47:11
Last Availability Check:
Jun 26, 2022 07:28:26
Last Availability Change:
Mar 24, 2022 05:23:59
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
Jun 27, 2022 02:08:35

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      • bioText: SAM SHEPARD was the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of more than fifty-five plays and three story collections. As an actor, he appeared in more than sixty films, and received an Oscar nomination in 1984 for The Right Stuff. He was a finalist for the W. H. Smith Literary Award for his story collection Great Dream of Heaven. In 2012 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Trinity College, Dublin. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, received the Gold Medal for Drama from the Academy, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He died in 2017.
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The final work from the Pulitzer Prize–winning writer, actor, and musician, drawn from his transformative last days
 
In searing, beautiful prose, Sam Shepard’s extraordinary narrative leaps off the page with its immediacy and power. It tells in a brilliant braid of voices the story of an unnamed narrator who traces, before our rapt eyes, his memories of work, adventure, and travel as he undergoes medical tests and treatments for a condition that is rendering him more and more dependent on the loved ones who are caring for him. The narrator’s memories and preoccupations often echo those of our current moment—for here are stories of immigration and community, inclusion and exclusion, suspicion and trust. But at the book’s core, and his, is family—his relationships with those he loved, and with the natural world around him. Vivid, haunting, and deeply moving, Spy of the First Person takes us from the sculpted gardens of a...
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title
Spy of the First Person
fullDescription
The final work from the Pulitzer Prize–winning writer, actor, and musician, drawn from his transformative last days
 
In searing, beautiful prose, Sam Shepard’s extraordinary narrative leaps off the page with its immediacy and power. It tells in a brilliant braid of voices the story of an unnamed narrator who traces, before our rapt eyes, his memories of work, adventure, and travel as he undergoes medical tests and treatments for a condition that is rendering him more and more dependent on the loved ones who are caring for him. The narrator’s memories and preoccupations often echo those of our current moment—for here are stories of immigration and community, inclusion and exclusion, suspicion and trust. But at the book’s core, and his, is family—his relationships with those he loved, and with the natural world around him. Vivid, haunting, and deeply moving, Spy of the First Person takes us from the sculpted gardens of a renowned clinic in Arizona to the blue waters surrounding Alcatraz, from a New Mexico border town to a condemned building on New York City’s Avenue C. It is an unflinching expression of the vulnerabilities that make us human—and an unbound celebration of family and life.
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      • premium: False
      • source: Michael Ondaatje, Booker Prize–winning author of The English Patient
      • content: "Sam Shepard's Spy of the First Person is a devastating work that is also full of life and wonder. From its heartbreaking dedication to him by his children to its last longing and truthful pages, it is an intimate masterwork."
      • premium: False
      • source: Elisabeth Vincentelli, Newsday
      • content: "Haunting. . . . A testament-like fever dream of autofiction."
      • premium: False
      • source: Jane Ciabattari, BBC
      • content: "As the narrator's body grows weaker, his days are filled with trips to the clinic with loved ones, and a cascade of memories--orchards, surfers, the mid-1970s. He describes being 'exhausted from the chaos of this era'--'Napalm. Cambodia. Nixon. Tet Offensive. Watergate. Secretariat. Muhammad Ali.' . . . He has rendered the thoughtful, interior months of his own last act into spare and profound prose."
      • premium: False
      • source: John Winters, WBUR
      • content: "Powerful. . . . Ultimately, Shepard drops all pretense, closing out this collection with two heartbreaking chapters detailing his final days, and bringing the reader up close to what Rilke called 'undiluted death.'"
      • premium: False
      • source: Molly Boyle, Santa Fe New Mexican
      • content: "There's plainspoken reflection on the tempos of everyday life, in a signature style that lopes elegantly and rhythmically across the page. . . . Surreality emerges in Shepard's visions of his mundane West, as well as the familiar voice of a lonely, achingly acute observer. . . . The pages of a man's life, with all its glory and monotony, are sewn together here with steady pathos and flashes of brilliance, dark and light."
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        November 15, 2017
        A sharply observed, slender novel set in familiar Shepard (The One Inside, 2017, etc.) territory: a dusty, windblown West of limitless horizons and limited means of escape.An image at the beginning of what is billed as the recently deceased Shepard's final work of fiction--until the next one is found in a drawer, presumably--offers arresting portent: robins are singing, chirping away, not so much out of happiness with the world but, as the nameless narrator says, "I think mostly protecting nests" from all the "big bad birds" that are out to get their little blue eggs. The world is full of big bad birds, and one is the terror of a wasting neurological disease that provides the novel's closing frame: two sons and an ailing father lagging behind the rest of their family as they make their way up the street in a little desert ville. "We made it and we hobbled up the stairs," says the old man. "Or I hobbled. My sons didn't hobble, I hobbled." It's exactly of a piece with True West and other early Shepard standards, and one can imagine Shepard himself playing the part of that old man in an understated, stoical film. In between, it's all impression, small snapshots of odd people and odd moments ("People are unlocking their cars from a distance. Pushing buttons, zapping their cars, making the doors buzz and sing, making little Close Encounters of the Third Kind noises"). It's easy to lose track of where one voice ends and another begins, where the young man leaves off and the old man picks up the story: explaining the title, the young narrator likens himself to an employee of a "cryptic detective agency," even as the old man, taking up the narration in turn, wonders why he's being so closely watched when he can barely move. In the end, this is a story less of action than of mood, and that mood is overwhelmingly, achingly melancholic.The story is modest, the poetry superb. A most worthy valediction.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from January 29, 2018
        This slim but potent volume, which playwright Shepard (The One Inside) finished shortly before his death in 2017, alternates two voices in a poignant, unsettling double monologue. One narrator is a man who spends most of his time sitting in a “rocking chair that looks like it was lifted from a Cracker Barrel” on the porch of a house in the Southwest, and who occasionally makes family outings to a local Mexican restaurant or to a prestigious medical clinic founded by two brothers from Minnesota. On the porch, he talks to himself, or to his son, recalling events they shared or didn’t. Across the road, someone else observes him, trying to make sense of him. The observer watches the porch sitter eat cheese and crackers and notes dispassionately that “his hands and arms don’t work much,” while the sitter himself prefers to dwell in the past, since the present has little to offer. Elegant, unpretentious, funny, and touching without demanding sympathy, the book, edited with the help of Shepard’s friend Patti Smith (Just Kids), gently escorts the reader out to the edge where life meets death.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from November 15, 2017
        Early in 2017, Shepard, the author of 55 gutsy and imaginative plays and three transporting short story collections, published his first novel, The One Inside; he then died that summer after a long battle with ALS. Now, just before the year closes, his final work of fiction, written in the grip of that debilitating disease, appears. A meshing of memoir and invention, it snares with virtuoso precision both nature's constant vibrancy and the stop-action of illness. Told in short takes pulsing with life and rueful wit, it portrays one man spying on another from across the street, raising binoculars to better watch his subject struggling to make the simplest motions and family members appearing from within the house to offer help and company. As for the nearly immobilized man, he is remembering his immigrant mother, a troubling night in New York City, and visits to a famous Arizona clinic in pursuit of a magic cure. He also offers acid commentary on episodes in American history, and revels in the resonance of words. Gradually the spy and the man on the porch merge, and the resilient yet reconciled narrator celebrates family love beneath a full moon in the farewell beauty of twilight. A gorgeously courageous and sagacious coda to Shepard's innovative and soulful body of work.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

popularity
492
publisher
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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